Bracing for repeal and replace, GOP undergoes growing pains
Friday, March 24, the American Health Care Act was pulled hours before a vote in the House.
After having been rushed onto the docket by President Trump’s command, the bill was pulled due to fears there was not enough support to pass it, according to a March 23 article “Republicans delay vote on ‘Trumpcare’ after struggling to reach an agreement on the bill,” by Bob Bryan and Allan Smith published in Business Insider.
According to Bryan and Smith, divisions in the GOP are responsible for the bill having been pulled. While the Freedom Caucus wants certain health benefits to be repealed, other members of the party thought the bill went too far.
Data collected by The New York Times shows 150 members of the GOP supported the bill, 45 were undecided, 9 were leaning against it and 33 people entirely opposed it. Since there is no Democratic support for the bill, and Republicans require 215 votes for the bill to pass, only 22 members of the GOP could vote against the bill.
The American Health Care Act would fundamentally change sections of the Affordable Care Act passed under the Obama administration.
Several major components of the Affordable Care Act include that it keeps insurance companies from denying people or charging them more due to pre-existing conditions, children can be kept on their parents’ health care until they turn 26, companies cannot place annual or lifetime limits and many preventative care options have been available, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s official webpage.
Tom Tierney, a professor of sociology and anthropology at the College of Wooster, said one of the largest parts of the Affordable Care Act was the individual mandate, requiring everyone to get insurance.
Although the American Health Care Act would keep some of the Affordable Care Act in place, it would eliminate funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund and some family planning providers, limit funding for Medicaid and repeal changes making more people eligible for Medicaid,
eliminate cost-sharing reductions and premium subsidies and repeal taxes such as the penalties associated with mandates for minimum essential health coverage, according the bill’s summary on Congress’ official webpage.
Tierney said the bill’s vision of health care is based on an ideology to, “let the market take control of healthcare.”
However, he also mentioned that the Affordable Care Act is built upon market based healthcare, only with subsidies and an individual mandate from the government.
It is still early in the Trump presidency. There are other bills and health care proposals currently in Congress.
However, Tierney said he ultimately sees healthcare in the United States as moving toward a public entity, rather than a private, market-based one.
On April 2, Trump tweeted, “Talks on Repealing and Replacing [the Affordable Care Act] are, and have been, going on, and will continue until such time as a deal is hopefully struck.”
What the United States healthcare system will become is yet to be seen.